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Head to Bairnsdale at any time of year to discover a busy regional centre from which to explore the vast Gippsland Lakes and spectacular Ninety Mile Beach, or the alpine highlights of Omeo, Dinner Plain and Mount Hotham. You'll find plenty of accommodation options and a wide range of shops and services in Bairnsdale, the commercial centre for the local wool, dairy, agricultural and timber industries. Wander around town on a self-guided heritage walk and explore local art galleries, museums, and craft and antique shops. Visit the National Trust classified St Mary's Catholic Church in Main Street with its unique murals and painted ceilings. Stock up on outdoor, surfing, camping and fishing equipment in Bairnsdale, then hit the Mitchell River and nearby waterways for excellent fishing. Take a walk through the Mitchell River National Park and visit the Den of Nargun. According to Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, the Nargun was a half-stone, half-human female creature with the power to repel and turn back spears and stones. You can also tour the Bataluk Cultural Trail to discover elements of Koorie history and culture, or visit the Krowathunkoolong Keeping Place to view artefacts depicting the history of the Gunai/Kurnai people of East Gippsland. Pick up a brochure from the local visitor information centre and drive along the Twin Rivers Food and Wine Trail, or cycle along the East Gippsland Rail Trail from Bairnsdale to Nowa Nowa. Bairnsdale is also a good starting point for the Great Alpine Road. Get along to one of the action-packed race meets at the Bairnsdale Racing Club. Bairnsdale is three hours east of Melbourne along the Princes Highway.